And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)
It happened just like that. I was new to the game…too new to the game. I had had my driver’s license just a few weeks or at most a couple of months. I can honestly say I wasn’t one of those cocky kid drivers, in fact I was probably scared to death. I had a job at a Food Fair a fair distance from where we lived at 6008 Carlton Road, and someone had to take me to work. Then my Daddy did it. He trusted me. One day he said that I could take the car and drive myself to work. They weren’t going anywhere, and it would save them from going and coming and coming and going. I couldn’t believe it.
I remember the first time I carefully backed out of the driveway heading toward Ricker Road. That day, and for several other days, things went well. Again, I was careful, I didn’t break the rules and I wasn’t a speeder. Of course, our 1961 Plymouth station wagon wasn’t exactly a race car anyway. There and back, I went, and all was well…until it wasn’t. One day, like several other days, I was going to drive to work. Daddy car-pooled and wasn’t home yet. I backed out of the driveway like every time before and headed for Ricker Road just like every time before…but it wasn’t like every time before.
Apparently, I had opened the back door on the driver’s seat to put something in the backseat and didn’t close the door all the way. As I pressed the gas pedal, the rear door swung open and that is when Mr. Inexperience took over. I heard the road noise, look over my shoulder and saw that the door was open. Well, instead of stopping and closing the door I tried to turn and reach over my shoulder to close the door. When I turned and reached, I accidentally turned the wheel and, gulp, I ran right into—or actually over—one of our neighbors’ mailboxes. Crunch, grind, bummer.
I hit the brakes and sat there in total shock. The mailbox was one of those that kinda sat on a little arm and that little arm had hit my windshield and cracked it. It seems the mirror took a direct hit too. I was so afraid, and I didn’t know what to do…so I ran. Yup, I was a hit and run driver, but I didn’t drive away…I ran away leaving the car running, my driver’s door open and the mailbox lying dead on the side of the road.
Since I hadn’t made it very far, our house was just a few dozen yards down the road, and I ran all the way. I ran into the kitchen and right into my Momma’s arms. She wanted to know what had happened and the best I could I explained it and then she asked where the car was and the best I could I explained that too. We went back to the car and brought it home and I’m sure Momma and I made a trip to the neighbor’s front door to explain what happened.
Let me tell you what didn’t happen. Though I was certain it had—the world didn’t come to an end. After a short while, Daddy came home, and I told him what had happened. He wasn’t happy but he didn’t disown me…after all I was his son…before and after the accident. I don’t believe there was any punishment either, but I am sure there was some instruction about how to close a door when the car is moving. “Stop. Close door.” I also imagine there was some instruction about not leaving the scene of an accident. And the neighbor…I simply don’t remember but I guess he didn’t press charges. Smile.
I’m sure my little accident cost my Daddy and Momma more than they could afford…even without repairing the mailbox. I am sure it was money that could have been better used paying an electric bill or buying groceries for our “not too small” family. But my best memory of all was the fact that Daddy and Momma loved me regardless and anyway. Oh, I guess you could say it was because I was the baby of the family and their favorite (smile) but the truth is love ruled the day that day.
Looking back, I realize that was one of those times when my Daddy reminded me of my Dearest Daddy…my Heavenly Daddy. My Daddy could have extended wrath, but He extended grace and love—just like my Dearest Daddy…my Heavenly Daddy. I think I learned that day that my Daddy wasn’t someone to run from but to run to—just like my Dearest Daddy…my Heavenly Daddy. Paul, the one in the Bible, said that nothing can ever separate us from the One who loves us most. How about that? We have a Dearest Daddy…a Heavenly Daddy that is always there and always willing to whisper, “I’ve got that.” Bro. Dewayne